Welcome!

The University of Washington Human Powered Submarine Team has 
been active for over twenty years, and is an affiliate of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Every year the team designs and manufactures a submarine to compete at the International Submarine Races in Bethesda, MD or the European International Submarine Races in Gosport, England. This year's competition is in Gosport, UK. Operated by both volunteer and credit-earning members, the team incorporates an array of engineering disciplines in order to develop the most effective submarine system possible.

If you are interested in helping the team as a new member or as a sponsor, you are encouraged to email the team at uwhpsub@gmail.com or attend one of our general meetings every Monday at 4:30pm in MOR 220. New members are always welcome.

Check us out on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/uwhps

Year Recap:

ISR 13 Results!


Friends of UWHPS,

This past year with UWHPS has been quite the journey. We just returned from the International Submarine races with the best performance our team has ever seen since its inception in 1989. After the team nearly collapsed in 2013 a mere 4 members were left with the task of completely rebuilding the program. That year myself, with co-Captain Harlin Wood, member Michael Dopker and last years Captain Chris Charlson began the uphill battle to build a program capable of both being competitive in a sophisticated and highly funded competition, and enriching the educations of dozens of students annually. We are proud to announce that we have finally accomplished that goal.

              After a healthy performance during our debut at the European International Submarine races in 2014, 10 returning members began the task of turning what was at the time nothing more than a CAD model of a hull form (just outside shape, nothing more) into what would be the best UW submarine ever. 

            The year started, as many large endeavors start, with bold and grandeur ideas of complex and sophisticated systems for getting our submarine across the finish line at a record breaking clip.  During the Fall quarter design phase, the typical hurdles of R&D were met head on, and slowly but surely, a complete design and manufacturing plan was developed. The end of the first quarter was a great time not only for designing submarines, but for the team to discover the members that were willing to stick out the tough days in anticipation for a rewarding experience at the end of the year.

              When winter quarter came around we had much to look forward to, and an aggressive timeline to meet. This was the quarter all teams were tasked with actually manufacturing the systems they had designed in the Fall. Unfortunately due to a combination of Fall quarter designs not being as good as we had originally thought and being an inexperienced manufacturing team we both started and then fell even further behind our planned timeline. Winter offered us a humbling learning experience in implementation of ideas to reality. It also taught all of the team leads a lesson about managing the limited resources available to them to accomplish an incredibly challenging task which could never be done alone. So although come the end of the quarter the deliverables had not all been delivered, the lessons and experience gained was invaluable to our future success.

              Spring quarter covered the final 10 weeks before the submarine left for competition. Being on the quarter system means that because school gets out later the submarine would ship out in the middle of finals week. Already off to a late start, and struggling to finish winter manufacturing tasks, the team rallied all quarter to try and get a reasonable test period in before competition. All of the team leads were spending about 20 hours a week finishing the sub, and some would do over 40 hours. From a leadership standpoint the entire quarter was inspiring. Seeing dozens of students with full course loads willing to do whatever it takes to finish what they had promised their team they would deliver is where we learned that as a team we have what it takes to be great.  Again, the quarter was a profound learning experience for all, and gave new meaning to the lessons learned earlier.

              We did complete enough of the submarine to do several successful buoyancy checks midway through the quarter, and had a very successful training weekend at Lake Crescent the final weekend before we departed for competition. The submarine was then packed into the cart and sat peacefully for 24 hours before the Boeing driver came and loaded her onto his moving truck and off she went to Maryland. The next two weeks we finished taking our tests and caught up on some sleep as we waited for the chaos of competition week.

              The competition comes as a new experience for most people. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of everything. Many teams show up unprepared for what lies ahead and you can see teams break down over the course of the week both physically and mentally. The captains had been to two competitions before this and knew of the typical struggles and the fate of any team that allowed emotions to get the better of them. Maryland in June is hot and humid. Perfect conditions for breaking the discipline. Once again the team pulled through. Each and every member worked hard to complete their tasks and adapt to new situations while positively reinforcing their peers.

              After day one we passed all of our tech inspections and throughout the week we got into the water and took runs every day, each day building upon our success from the previous day and putting up faster and faster times. By Wednesday we had the lead in the one-person propeller category. We were able to maintain that lead until late in the day Thursday when our fierce rivals (and good friends) WASUB from Delft University were able to top our speed. They went on to break the world speed record on Friday, so although disappointed they are a respectable team to get beat by and helps us set up new personal goals (7.43 knots here we come!). At the end of race week we sat in second place out of the 20+ teams in our category.

              It has been an honor to work with such a great team this past year and the team leads and I are very excited to continue our excellent work over this year leading up to the European International Submarine Races (eISR) next July in Gosport, England. The Human Powered Submarine challenge is not one that can possibly be done alone, or without the generous support from our university and corporate sponsors. Nor can one single person force a positive culture another group of people. I would like to give a sincere thank you to everyone that made this year’s success a possibility!

Over and out,

Bentley Altizer

Race Day 3:
Final broke the school record (5.65 knots) at a clip of 5.94 knots. Got our female pilot in the submarine to do 3.45 knots, with hopes of getting to 5.50 later this week. Keep Checking in for updates!

Race Week Update:
Arrived at competition. Team passed wet and dry inspection both first try on Monday. Today we had our first successful run at 4.40 knots. Unfortunately mechanical errors with the propulsion system limited us to about 50% power. We look forward to taking more runs tomorrow with the repaired gearbox!



The 2015 Submarine: What Sub Dawg?
Come check out the new submarine at the International Submarine Races in Bethesda, Maryland from June 22-26, 2015!

Hull Reveal

Vacuum Forming Process
Thanks, Pacific Research Laboratories!

First Look at the 2015 Hull
A big thanks to Janicki Industries for supplying the team with materials and guidance!

2014-15 Team Picture

First Work Party of the Year was a Success!

Many new and old faces showed  up to the team's first work party of the 2014-15 season. Thank you to all who showed up! Go Dawgs!

Team Gets 5th Place at eISR

The team recently got 5th place at the 2nd biennial Europe International Submarine Races. Although the team narrowly missed out on our goal of a top 3 finish, we were very pleased with the success of our controls system and the way we handled all the problems thrown at us throughout the week. The experience gained at this competition will go a long way in helping us reach our goals for the upcoming year. Full results, press releases, and videos of the competition can be found at the eISR website.



eISR Recap

After exploring Europe for a couple of weeks, the team arrived at the competition in England ready to go.

On the first day of races, the judges decided to delay the scoring and slalom gates for a day, allowing each team to pass their wet inspections and get a feel for the course. This was great news for us because, even though we had done lots of testing in Lake Washington, we had only practiced going in a straight line. On our first run down the course, we followed the line perfectly down the first straightaway but couldn’t make the U-turn sharp enough.

On the second day of racing, the scoring system was initiated and the slalom gates were positioned 1 meter apart, allowing some boats to cruise straight through. To fix our problem from the first day of racing, we installed our mechanical controls while we worked on a solution that would allow us to get more fin deflection with our electrical controls. On our first trip down the course today, we followed the first straightaway perfectly once again. This time, when our pilot got to the U-turn he took the turn too sharp and ended up losing the course. But, he was still able to wander around the tank and eventually found the finish line for a complete run! Unfortunately, during the tow back to the start line, the tension in our cables got loosened, so we decided to take the boat out of the water and focus on getting our electrical system back in.

For the third day of racing, we modified our control linkages, allowing us to get more deflection out of our rudders with our electrical controls in place. Also, the judges positioned the slalom gates in a line, forcing each sub to maneuver around them. On our first run of the day we cruised through the first straightaway, around the U-turn, through the slalom gates, and over the finish line. A perfect run! The whole team let out a huge sigh of relief. We completed one more run on the day and had a minor issue during our other run.

By the fourth day of racing, we had things figured. However, the judges made things even harder on us. This time the slalom gates were positioned 1 meter apart, but instead of going straight through them you had to weave around them. We got 2 decent runs in, but neither of them were mistake free. Only one team was able to complete the course with zero mistakes. We also won the award for “Best Reverse Maneuver” for one of our runs today. On one of our secondary pilot’s attempts, he accidently turned on our braking system during the first straightaway. He didn’t know he turned on the brakes though, so when he got to the U-turn he moved the joystick to the left but the sub kept going straight. Unwilling to give up, he reversed the submarine out of the catch net and tried making the turn again, but the brakes were still on. After a couple more tries he eventually gave in and abandoned the run. The judges and race director were a little confused since we had been making the turn so well now, but were very amused by our effort to get out of the net.

The final day of racing was an agility and endurance competition. We were one of only five teams to qualify for this event. Each of the five teams had one chance to traverse 2 laps of the course, with the slalom gates positioned in a line. Unfortunately we missed a couple of slalom poles, but we did finish the race and we entertained all the divers in the water by convincing the dive coordinator to play music for our pilot via the underwater loudspeaker.

Overall, the team is happy with how the races transpired. We knew things wouldn’t go perfectly but we were able to engineer around all our technical difficulties. We were also very excited to see our electronic controls work so well and are looking forward to implementing our plans for next year.



Thank You Sponsors!

We’d like to thank all our sponsors for helping us out this year. Without your help this team would not exist.



Team Announcements

  • Day 3 Update This morning our male pilot Dom reached 5.57 knots. Only .08 knots away from a school record, and in reach of the 5.80 knots leading time in our ...
    Posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:33 AM by UW HPS
  • Arrived in Washington DC!! Day 0 of competition:After being first in line to register Saturday morning, the team had extra time to explore DC before competition! We caught the Red Line to downtown ...
    Posted Jun 22, 2015, 6:21 PM by UW HPS
Showing posts 1 - 2 of 24. View more »



The competitors, staff, and volunteers at eISR 2.